More reader comments on home staging
Readers are still sending in comments about the rant from a seller who resented trying to live in her professionally staged home while it was on the market. Some sellers agree but say that staging is worth the discomfort. Some sellers disagree. And at least one reader evidently misread the letter.
Q. How you could respond so rudely to the readers trying to live in a staged house? Your reply was nasty and self-serving. Even using the term "rant" reveals that you think your approach is the only correct one. That's not fair, not logical, not professional and definitely not nice.
A. Sorry if you thought you were reading my response. It was actually the seller herself who called her complaint a rant.
Q. I know I'm late, but I wanted to comment on the staging scam. I've watched it grow exponentially in the last few years, and I can't believe the money that goes into it now. What a rip-off!
That being said, your advice for sellers to depersonalize their homes is entirely adequate. I followed this advice but merely decorated with a bowl of Osage oranges and autumn leaves on the dining room table. Otherwise, making the house very clean and bright was all that was needed. I sold my house in -- what I was told was a slack period -- a month or so.
A. From what you describe, it sounds as if you did your own staging.
Q. I have lived in a staged home for five months now. It has been a trial living this way. But I am downsizing to a condo, and as I've gone to look at some, I see what it's like to view homes that aren't staged. It was hard to get past all the clutter. I missed certain details from being distracted by the accumulated personal belongings. Yes, it's difficult to live with, but I feel it aids the potential buyer to truly see your place.
Q. I gave my condo a beautiful send-off by staging the rooms to look like someone was living there comfortably. I closed the draperies in the bedroom, darkening the room to a soft light. I spread my beautiful, blue velvet robe casually across the bed. It looked so comfy. In the living room, the draperies were also closed, one soft lamp was lighted, a pillow was indented where I had leaned against it, and a book was left open and lying where I had left it. Two agents had buyers eager to buy the house immediately.
A. Sorry, but dim lighting doesn't usually sell homes. I have to suspect it was a bargain price that brought in those purchase offers.
Q. Our house was on the market, and it took awhile and many showings to sell. We followed our agent's advice, which was similar to yours: Remove clutter and personal items, and downsize some furniture. But to avoid losing the feeling of living in your own home during the selling process, we also developed a simple one-page checklist of items to hide before a showing (and then put back after). The list also included a few staging steps (e.g. artfully arranging towels on the tub, putting out fresh flowers, putting the litter box in the garage). I was usually the one to implement the steps, which only took about a half-hour.
As a result, the house still seemed (mostly) like our home during those months. And we were surprised to find that we came to appreciate some of the decluttering and staging effects. We then carried the changes over to our lovely new home.
Q. I have an old paid-off mortgage lien that's still on county records. This loan was bought and sold many times. I cannot find any paperwork I received when it was sold. I tried writing the bank for months and got nowhere. They have no record of the mortgage, so why can't they notify the county or send me a release document?
My new refinanced loan is also now in the public records office. I was told that if I decide to sell, I will have a problem. Can you help?
A. If you had no problem placing a new mortgage, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if the matter is still bothering you, contact the agency that supervises mortgage lending in your state. Or have a lawyer work on the relatively simple task of straightening out the public records.
• Contact Edith Lank on www.askedith.com, or 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.
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